Designated Sacred Space Project
This project provides a memorial depicting unifying quotes from scriptures in different faiths. For sustainability, care of the earth pillars are installed depicting faith and cultural messages of interconnectedness and interdependence. The project provides a location where visitors passing through Louis Riel Trail can relax, learn, reflect, pray and meditate in the peaceful and natural environment of the Arm River Valley in Craik, Saskatchewan.
Time and place are needed for quiet reflection.
The idea of a “permanent prayer site off road between Saskatoon and Regina” 1 came from two meetings initiated by Edward Spratt, chair of the Three Rivers Trail Association (T.R.T.A.). Ed Spratt,a local resident of Mid-lakes Region with extensive personal and professional knowledge of the area, helped to develop the criteria that was used in the choice of the sacred site and organized tours of the area for the selection committee to view potential sites. Once the site was chosen, he worked with Multi-Faith Sask, Craik Sustainable Living Project, Craik Eco-Centre and the T.R.T.A to have a public ceremony to announce the choice of the Sacred Site. A granite marker was unveiled by the Saskatchewan Minister of Tourism on November 1st, 2008 to indicate the establishment of the Sacred Site overlooking Arm Lake near the Craik Eco-Centre. See photo
The development of the Sacred Site is a reflection of the depth of Ed’s inner being and awareness of that which ties us to the land, to nature and ultimately the connection to the “spiritual.” Though a trained research scientist with a doctorate in agricultural chemistry, Ed was a man of faith and spirituality. His family farm was his source of inner peace, his connection to the land and his touchstone to the universe. His spirituality came from the land and from the tenets of his faith. He understood the significance of a sacred site for those who had no place for spiritual renewal. Sustainability of the land and spiritual renewal are linked just as the objectives of TRTA and Multi-Faith are linked.
Multi-Faith Saskatchewan sought a place for spiritual renewal; TRTA sought to promote the ‘spirit of the land’ through exploration of trails. As a member of Multi-Faith Sask, Ed knew that Three Rivers Trail Association could assist Multi-Faith Saskatchewan in the selection of a sacred site. Thirty-five people from Multi-Faith Saskatchewan and T.R.T.A. attended the initial meeting held July 29th, 2007 at Arm Lake Birding Site. Subsequent meetings in 2007 and 2008 resulted in site selection, the marker unveiling and the final plan for the Sacred Site near the Craik Eco-Centre.
*The message of sustainability and renewal of resources was clear to Ed.
To be connected to the land, one must have a sense of wholeness. To care for the land, to care for ourselves, to see what is before us, to understand the power and the fragility of the earth and to understand why we must look for ways to sustain it and ourselves, we must feel a part of the whole. If we are not part of the whole, we cannot know how to make the earth sustainable.
In 2009, Ed spent as much time as he could at his family farm to reconnect to the ‘spirit of the land’- his inner source of strength and peace and to be in the company of his family, especially,his children and grandchildren who were a cornerstone of his life.
Edward Duncan Spratt-November 21,1936-January 31,2010.
The time to slow down and just be is often missing in our lives and to seek the place of connection often is just another thing we add to our ‘to do list.’ The Sacred Site has been provided for us if want to slow down and reflect. The time is at our choosing.
1 Spratt, Edward. Three Rivers Trail Association Newsletter #14, October 27,2007.